Woodworking may be an ancient craft, but modern technology has expanded the possibilities of what you can make with wood, whether that’s the advent of new techniques or machines that can quickly do once-manual tasks. One such technology is wood glue. While hide-based glue has admittedly existed for a long time, the advent of synthetic glues created new applications and offered new opportunities. There are quite a few different kinds of wood glues, and they have their own properties and advantages.
Many people associate glue in general as something you only really use in a grade school classroom setting, or a lazy workaround for more time-intensive and secure methods of binding two pieces together. But glue, like any tool in your kit, has its place, and it can be used in settings where other fasteners may not work or may end up damaging the wood.
When choosing glue, one important factor to consider is waterproofing. Most glues will be labeled with how waterproof they are, so you can determine whether or not they can be used in outdoor settings. Glues that aren’t waterproof will be best suited for indoor furniture projects or crafts.
Here are some common types of glue that can be used for woodworking projects:
- Carpenter’s glue, or polyvinyl acetate (PVA)
- Polyurethane glue
- Epoxy glue
- cyanoacrylate (super glue)
PVA glue is common and readily available and serves as a good all-purpose woodworking option. Wood glue or carpenter’s glue often refers to PVA. Polyurethane glue offers a strong hold and is versatile. It can be used outdoors and with other materials besides wood. Epoxy is made by combining resin with a hardener. You’ll often see it used for craft projects like river tables, but it can also be used for repairs. Because it’s self-leveling, it can be used as a way to fill gaps.
If you’re not a woodworker, and you just want a wood glue to do some minor repairs on furniture, many of these glues are designed to be easy to use and fast-drying. Most of them are non-toxic, so you won’t need to worry about needing a special outdoor space or ventilated workshop.
If you’re not sure what kind of glue to get, it’s worth picking up a few different kinds. If you tackle DIY projects often enough, you might find that certain glues work better for certain projects. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best options.
1. Titebond Original Wood Glue
If you’re looking for an option for indoor projects where water exposure isn’t an issue, Titebond Original is a great wood glue. It’s made in the US, and is non-toxic and solvent-free, making it safe to work with. It’s also very sturdy, and bonds stronger than wood. What that means is that if you were to snap the wood in half, it wouldn’t break along where you glued it, but on the wood itself. This option comes in a 16-ounce bottle. It sets fast and has a short clamp time.
2. Elmer’s E7010 Carpenter’s Wood Glue
BEST INTERIOR GLUE
Maybe the last time you used Elmer’s was in elementary school, so this glue might give you a nostalgic feeling. But Elmer’s carpenter’s glue is a great option for a variety of indoor woodworking projects (it’s not designed to be waterproof). It’s non-toxic and has no harmful fumes, so it’ll be safe to work with, and it’s designed to be easy to use and clean up the excess.
Elmer's Wood Glue
3. Gorilla White Waterproof Polyurethane Glue
Gorilla makes a wide variety of adhesives, including general purpose tape and glue. If you’re looking for a strong, workhorse glue that can suit woodworking and other projects, consider Gorilla’s polyurethane glue. It’s listed as being suitable for wood, stone, metal, glass, ceramic and foam, making it a versatile option. It’s also waterproof. If you’re not sure it’s what you need, the 2-ouncesize is a good starter.
Gorilla Wood Glue
4. Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue
BEST OUTDOOR WOOD GLUE
Titebond has several glue offerings, but they’re conveniently organized by number to make it easier to determine what kind of glue you need. They’re basically numbered in ascending order of waterproofing. The original Titebond is great for indoor projects, and Titebond III offers waterproof protection, making it great for outdoor and indoor projects alike. This option is an 8-ounce bottle. It has a slightly longer working time before it sets.
5. Glue Masters Shoe & Wood Adhesive
BEST SUPER GLUE
This option from Glue Masters is made from cyanoacrylate resin, which is the same type of adhesive used for super glue (such as Krazy Glue). That makes it a great all-purpose option. It’s listed as working for shoe repair and wood, but it’s versatile enough for a wide variety of projects. You can choose between thick, medium and thin viscosity. The option shown is thin, which is designed to settle very quickly.
Gluemasters Shoe & Wood Adhesive
6. J-B Weld WoodWeld Wood Epoxy Adhesive
BEST FOR REPAIRS
Epoxy resins are unique in that they have two components, the resin and the hardener. Once combined, they quickly dry and offer a very strong hold. This epoxy from J-B weld comes in two tubes that total just under 2 ounces, making this best suited for small repairs, rather than larger projects. It bonds stronger than wood, sets in six minutes and cures in one to three hours. The 1:1 mixing ratio makes it easy to use as well.
J-B Weld Wood Epoxy Adhesive
7. Krazy Glue Fast Dry Wood Glue
You might already have a bottle of Krazy Glue in your junk drawer, and that’s because the stuff is super strong and comes in handy for any quick fixes. But it’s also worth picking up Krazy’s specialty wood glue, which is designed to dry quickly and bond to different wood types. It cures in six minutes depending on the wood type and working conditions, and residue can be sanded and washed for a cleaner finish.